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Situation Positioning
60' Field

A Position

No Runners On Base

Base Hits To The Outfield

 

   With no one on base, on clean hits to the outfield, the base umpire will come in, pivot and take responsibility of the batter-runner at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd base. The plate umpire will come out from behind home plate in the direction the ball is hit a few feet onto the grass in front of home plate (approximately midway from the home plate cutout to the front edge of the grass of the pitcher's mound). The base umpire has the responsibility for the batter-runner at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd base. The responsibility of the plate umpire is simply to come out in front of the plate and observe the play, watching for any possible infractions (for example, obstruction; ball getting past the outfielder and rolling under the outfield fence; ball being overthrown back into the infield; helping out should the batter-runner get trapped in a rundown; etc.). For that reason, it is not necessary for the plate umpire to come out as far onto the infield grass as it would be in the case of a fly ball to the outfield. The plate umpire would of course also have responsibility for any play at the plate on the batter-runner.

   The base umpire should take his/her pivot at approximately the cutout area at 1st base, preferably two to three steps to the 2nd base side of the cutout. Ideally, he/she should time his/her pivot so that it occurs as the batter-runner is touching 1st base. The base umpire should pivot so as to stay ahead of the batter-runner in case he/she should decide to try for extra bases. For this reason, it is best for the base umpire to pivot two or three steps to the 2nd base side of the cutout.
   After the base umpire has pivoted and watched the batter-runner touch 1st base, he/she will then turn and pick up the ball. Then, after he/she has taken a couple steps towards 2nd base, he/she should again glance back and pick up the reactions of the batter-runner. If the batter-runner rounds 1st base and breaks towards 2nd base, the base umpire will see this and will likewise accelerate towards the 2nd base cutout for a possible play there. At this point (after the batter-runner has committed), the base umpire will again pick up the ball to determine whether a play is imminent at 2nd or whether the hit will be a possible triple and react accordingly. For example, if the umpire reads that there will probably be a play at 2nd base, he/she will rapidly move towards the cutout at 2nd and be set for the play there. On the other hand, should the umpire determine that there will be no play at 2nd base but instead there is the possibility of a triple, he/she will continue to take the batter-runner around the bases, staying ahead of the runner and not approaching the cutout at 2nd base as he/she would had he/she determined a play was imminent at 2nd base. As the batter-­runner reaches 2nd base, the base umpire must take his/her eye off the ball to watch the batter-runner touch 2nd, pick up the ball again as he/she continues to take a couple more steps, but then again take his/her eye off the ball and look back in order to pick up the reactions of the batter-runner as he/she rounds 2nd base. By doing so, the base umpire will determine whether he/she should continue on to 3rd base for a possible play there or whether he/she should retreat back towards 2nd base because that is where the batter-runner will hold up. The base umpire's continual glancing back and forth between the ball and the runner is necessary in this situation for the umpire to react as quickly as possible to the development of this type of play and consequently be in the best possible position for the play.
   After the base umpire has pivoted at 1st base on a base hit to the outfield, if he/she determines that the batter-runner will hold up with a single, he/she should stop and retreat back in the direction of the cutout at 1st but not all the way back to the cutout. He/she should retreat in such a way so that he/she will always be ahead of the runner should the runner decide to try for 2nd base unexpectedly (for example, on a bad throw coming in from the outfield). However, should the outfielder (in many cases the right fielder) throw behind the batter-runner at 1st base, the umpire must then come all the way back to the cutout in order to be in a good position for the play in its entirety. Should the plate umpire see that an inside-the-park home run is a possibility, he/she would retreat at that moment into foul territory and set up for any play at the plate. Also, should a rundown develop on the batter-runner, the plate umpire should be ready to move into position to help out with the rundown.